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WWE NXT preview (Feb. 8, 2022): Foregone conclusions

NXT 2.0 returns tonight (Feb. 8) live from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando!

Advertised for the show:

  • Mandy Rose (c) vs. Kay Lee Ray for the NXT Women’s title
  • Bron Breakker & Santos Escobar has a “Championship Summit”
  • Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson & James Drake) vs. The Creed Brothers in the semi-finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
  • MSK (Wes Lee & Nash Carter) vs. Malik Blade & Edris Enofé in the semi-finals of the Dusty Classic
  • LA Knight vs. Sanga
  • Sarray vs. Dakota Kai
  • Wendy Choo vs. Tiffany Stratton

As usual, here are our five questions about NXT tonight:

1) How excited can you get for a feud you already know the outcome of?

This probably applies to both the Women’s title match tonight (which will air commercial free, to help offset the move to SyFy) and next week’s NXT championship bout. WWE seems invested in keeping Mandy Rose and Bron Breakker atop their respective divisions. But there’s maybe a 3% chance they decide to give Kay Lee Ray, longest reigning NXT UK Women’s champion in history, an surprising victory. There’s no way Santos Escobar is dethroning Breakker at Vengeance Day.

So while Bron’s first title defense should be a really interesting clash of styles and a chance to see how a future main roster star does against a very talented guy with lots of experience outside the WWE system, it’s really hard to get invested in the build — like tonight’s “Championship Summit” — when we know who’s winning.

Booking Santos’ Legado Del Fantasma squad as jobbers to the stars for the majority of their run certainly hasn’t helped. Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza can’t even successfully pull off the kind of parking lot kidnapping Escobar used to recruit them in the first place. They won their last feud, but that was because of Elektra Lopez. The feud with Xyon Quinn was all about La Familia’s newest member, anyway.

Hopefully they can make tonight’s segment entertaining. Booking 101 says it will end with Escobar standing tall, cause he won’t be after next Tuesday’s match.

2) Can NXT make us believe black-and-gold era stars will win meaningful feuds with 2.0 ones?

Just a variation on the age old NXT question about former champions who seem poised for a call-up (see: Raquel González’s last three months), I suppose. But do we really think LA Knight is going over Grayson Waller in the long run? Dakota Kai’s job was to put over Cora Jade... should we expect anything different now that she’s picking a fight with Sarray?

It’s the nature of a lot of all wrestling stories, of course. But it’s especially transparent given what we know about how WWE is retooling their developmental program. So there’s an even bigger onus on making the path we take to an almost-certain finish as intriguing as possible. That’s amplified by the fact the matches that make up the story might be a little clunky given one participant is learning on the job.

3) Will Diamond Mine ever get a victory on Imperium?

Last Tuesday’s show-opening six-man rocked, and despite GUNTHER, Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel picking up their second win over The Creeds and/or Roderick Strong, Malcolm Bivens says this isn’t over.

Based on the same concepts we’ve been discussing to this point in the preview, I’d normally say that means Julius & Brutus will eventually dethrone Aichner & Bartel for the Tag titles. The immediate path to a shot involves winning the Dusty Classic, and that would mean taking out Grizzled Young Veterans (who have been positioned as “due” since they were runners up in the last two tournaments) and MSK (who have their own long-running angle that would normally culminate in taking back the belts from Imperium).

No matter what the big Austrian’s name is Bivens hates GUNTHER. But he may just have to take an L here and move on.

4) Is the Vengeance Day card set?

We’re at five matches on a two hour show, and one will involve the raising & lowering of a steel cage. Throw in the a sampling of NXT’s usual vignettes, and it should be a pretty full show. I’d expect they hold things like Knight vs. Waller, but maybe we’ll get a Von Wagner squash or something similar.

5) Were there really no other tracks to use for Nikkita Lyons first teaser video?

The former WOW Superhero could have a great career ahead of her, but this “Same Energy” jam was... not good.

Give us your questions and answers in the comments below. Then join us in our live blog, and we’ll see what Qs and As tonight’s show gives us.

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